2Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let that steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. — James 1:2-6
Yesterday, I pointed out there can be no true commitment to personal life change without a willingness to get specific. You must allow God to point out both the specific sins that have to go, and the specific good things that need to be added to your life. As long as you take refuge in the land of generalities, you will never experience the transforming power of the gospel.
Maybe you’re saying, James, I’m tracking with you, but I could use some practical help. What do I need to do to get specific about life transformation? I’m glad you asked! Here’s the first step: Ask God for wisdom to know exactly what He wants to change in you. God is the Architect. We cannot begin without His blueprint in hand—His specific wisdom on where to go to work.
One of the primary ways that God shows us what He wants to change in us is through the use of trials. God permits trials of all shapes and sizes to come into your life in order to produce “staying power” in you. Staying power is the ability to stick with it in difficult times—no matter what—and it is the funnel through which all Christian virtue flows. There is nothing good that God brings into your life by way of transformation that He doesn’t bring through the funnel of perseverance. If God can get that characteristic into your life, He can truly make you what He wants you to be.
God wants very much for you to know what He’s working on in your life, and the passage says that He’s ready to offer wisdom regarding the specifics when you ask. How great is that promise? He’s not trying to hide it from you. Just ask Him, “Lord, how do You want to use this trial to produce the righteousness of Christ in me today?”
Listen, God will not reveal the specifics about what He is trying to change in you if you are limiting the list from which He can choose. You must be willing to say from your heart, “No restrictions, Lord. Anything in my life, go for it. I’m Yours, period!” When you can make that full surrender, you are truly ready to “get specific.” And best of all, you’re about to experience life transformation that really sticks. — James MacDonald
Prayer: Father in heaven, I do want to change and become more like You. Forgive me when I’m stubborn and don’t allow You to choose the areas You want to change in me. Show me exactly what You want to change, and keep me in the trial You allow long enough to make that change happen. It will have to be in Your strength and wisdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.